WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has authorised the use of up to $50 million from its emergency refugee fund to help with urgent humanitarian needs resulting from fighting in South Sudan, the White House said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Britain is pledging £60 million ($100.97 million), the British government said today, amid expectations that conflict in the world’s youngest nation will worsen in the months ahead.
The conflict between President Salva Kiir’s Dinka people and the Nuer of his former deputy, Riek Machar, has prompted a humanitarian crisis. The fighting has curbed oil production in South Sudan, which became independent from Sudan in 2011. More than 1.3 million people have been displaced, and South Sudan is at risk of famine, the White House said.
“Months of conflict between the government of South Sudan and rebel forces have exacted a terrible toll on the people of South Sudan,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.
The $50 million will support the UN High Commission for Refugees and its partners to help more than 300,000 refugees who have crossed into Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, as well as internally displaced people, the statement said.
The White House said the $50 million would be part of a package of nearly $300 million in additional assistance that the United States will formally pledge today at a conference in Oslo. It brings the total of US humanitarian assistance to about $434 million since the conflict began in December.
Norway pledged $63 million yesterday and is hosting the international conference in Oslo to raise more money.
The UK’s £60 million pledge brings London’s support for South Sudan since the start of the crisis in December 2013 to around £93 million. Britain said its money would be distributed via agencies in South Sudan, including the World Food Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross.